PAUL Collingwood takes over the reins for Durham tomorrow and is hoping he can help deliver the win to kick-start their season.
The Dynamos begin their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign against Somerset (start 1.45pm) at the Emirates ICG, with Collingwood at the helm.
The all-rounder stands in for injured one-day skipper Dale Benkenstein against the Sabres, and is well aware that success could prove a massive boost to the beleaguered squad.
“If you win you get confidence,” he said. “We want a good result to kick-start the season.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking the boys into the middle. I’ve done it in the past and I’m very excited about doing it tomorrow.”
Collingwood is no stranger to success as a skipper – he led England to the World T20 crown in 2010.
But with his international days now seemingly behind him he is aiming to deliver for Durham again.
“The England stuff is pretty much well gone,” he admitted. “I’ve retired from Test matches, but not one-dayers. I’m very much focused on Durham now.
“To lead the lads out will be a proud moment, and I’m very excited about it.
“Dale (Benkenstein) isn’t too far away with his shoulder injury and he’s a big part of this team, and what Durham have achieved. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
Both Collingwood and Durham find themselves under pressure at an early stage of the season. Out of their four championship games so far, Geoff Cook’s men have lost two, drawn one and had one abandoned due to weather.
Collingwood missed the draw with Nottinghamshire, and with the clash against Surrey abandoned without a ball being bowled, the 35-year-old has had just five spells at the crease this term.
He has managed a combined total of just 37 runs, but he says he isn’t overly concerned about his form.
He said: “I’ve hardly scored a run in the four or five innings this season. That’s disappointing.
“The adrenaline’s still there, the nerves are still there. I’ve gone through bad patches in the past – during the last Ashes series I was really anxious in the middle. I don’t feel that at the moment, I feel runs are just around the corner and I’m in really good nick.”
Collingwood isn’t the only Durham batsman to misfire this term, but he is backing his team-mates to come good sooner rather than later.
And he hopes the switch to the one-day format could give the squad a little bit of a lift.
He added: “I think the guys will be really looking forward to playing some shots. You try to do the right thing on these type of pitches and you get restricted on these sort of pitches because of how much the ball has been doing.
“When the white ball comes out we might have to play in a similar manner. It might nip around and seam around,but hopefully not quite as much and we’ll be able to play the type of cricket that we know.”
Durham were due to go into the final day of the County Championship encounter with Somerset at the ICG today.
The visitors led by 95 runs with two first innings wickets at the end of the first day, but having lost two full days due to rain, the match seems set to end in a draw.
Collingwood admits it has been frustrating to miss so much cricket this season, and that the Durham batsmen have struggled to cope with conditions.
“The last three or four weeks has been amazing in terms of the amount of rain we’ve had,” he said.
“We seem to be following it around the country.
“It’s difficult spending so much time in the dressing room. The guys have been working so hard over the winter and they just want to play cricket.
“When we do go out in the middle the conditions are so tricky for the batsmen but we do have to somehow find a way to score runs. That’s been the tricky thing so far this season.
“You just want to play cricket, get on the park, play the full allotted overs and have a good, competitive game, whatever form of the game it is.”